Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

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Rebuilding an axle/springs for better ride

Postby 48Rob » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:35 am

Hi All.

I recently rebuilt an axle and spring sets for a friend.
His nearly new cargo trailer was one of the roughest riding trailers I've ever pulled.
He asked me to fix it... I did, and now it is very smooth and comfortable!

The link below will take you to the Web page that has the story and pictures if you're interested in how to make corrections and or upgrades for your trailer.

Rob

Link to axle rebuild
Last edited by 48Rob on Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Trackstriper » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:32 am

Rob,

Fascinating article. Sounds like something I'll need to do.

I've never heard of wet bolts before. Since the shackle plates also seemed to be replaced with thicker pieces it looks like you bought a kit. Do you have a good source for these? I found Dexter's kit but it is slightly different from what you used.

Bruce
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Postby sid » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:39 am

Great article Rob and plenty of good advice, I enjoyed it.

Thanks,
Mark
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Postby 48Rob » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:45 am

Hi Bruce,

Back in the 40's and 50's, wet bolts and bronze or steel bushings were the norm. These days, it is all about saving pennies...
Here is a picture of an original late 40's wet bolt.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/ ... erbolt.jpg

I bought the kit from Dexter.
http://dexteraxle.com/inc/sdetail/3902
It does include VERY heavy duty shackles!
The bushings and wet bolts can be purchased by the piece from other places too.
If your old shackles aren't worn, they can be re used.

Rob
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Postby Wig » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:07 am

Nice post.I found a old trailer thats gonna need that kinda stuff done.thanks
Scott & (Megan)
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Leaf springs

Postby danlott » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:31 pm

Just pulled off my leaf springs and getting ready to clean them up. I know that my springs are probably rated for more weight then I need, so will pull some the the leafs.

I have looked at the spring rating sheet located here.

http://www.stengelbros.com/UtilitySprings.htm

My springs are the US-1071 ones, which have 5 leafs and are rated for 2500 lbs. I assume that the 2500 lb rating is for one spring and that both of the springs are for a trailer up to 5000 lbs. I clearly do not need 5000 pounds of capacity. If I pull 2 of the leafs on each side this should derate each spring down to 1500 lbs or 3000 lbs. total.

Please let me know if I am correct in my thinking of the spring ratings. I am not sure what the final weight of my trailer will be, but I am building a bigger than normal tear.

Dan
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Upgrades

Postby Chris D » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:17 pm

Rob,
Is this what you do for a living? And how often would you need to do this?

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Postby 48Rob » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:35 am

Hi Chris,

I do not rebuild trailer axles for a living.
I'm a property manager, and maintenance supervisor.
I look after the main utilities for 5 subdivisions.
I also develop/redevelop land for same.
I've been a service tech in the mobile/rv industry for 32 years.
Handy man is about the only title that really fits...

Using grease as a lubricant/rust preventer on an rv that is only used a few times a year, and is not parked in a swamp the rest of the time should last upwards of 10 years.
The greasable bolts should be greased each time you go on a long trip.
I also carry a can of heavy lithium grease, and spray as much of the exposed areas of the spring leaves as I can (between the leaves) each time we go on a camping trip.

If you live in an area where salt or moisture is a constant challenge, using a teflon spring liner might be an option.
Costs more, and I can't say how long it will last, but it won't rust...

Rob
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Axel

Postby Chris D » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:45 am

Thanks Rob,
I learned alot from that post. Seems like money well spent to me. I plan on using the tsc 4x8 trailer and correct me if I am wrong. It is a 1500 lb trailer and it is welded"something I wish I knew how to do" and the axle seems to be in the right location for balance of a 4x8 TD @ 36.5" from the rear of the trailer to the center of the axle.

Thanks

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Postby 48Rob » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:48 am

Hi Dan,

I personally wouldn't remove leaves from any spring sets before speaking to someone in the know at the company that makes the springs.
Working with verified accurate information is the key...

All the spring sets on trailers I've ever dealt with are rated as a pair.
If the axle/trailer capacity is say, 3000# then each spring set can safely carry at least 1500# (most are over rated slightly, such as 1750# per set).

The manufacturer can tell you exactly what the bottom spring, and next in line if neeeded, are designed to carry.
Then, if each bottom spring is rated for say 500# if you remove the bottom spring from each side, you have reduced the capacity of the spring sets by 1000# (500# per set, or side).

Were I you, I'd build the trailer, get it weighed when you have it loaded with camping gear, then decide if the weight rating needs adjustment.
With a set rated at 2500# now it may work out just right, as is.

Properly cleaned and lubricated spring sets will also act like a lesser rated set, compared to a rusted and dirty set that can't flex as designed.

Rob
Last edited by 48Rob on Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Thanks

Postby eamarquardt » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:49 am

Good write up. Learned a few things. My dump trailer needs the running gear gone over. I had thought about drilling out the shackle bolls and installing zerks myself but like the idea of thicker shackle side pieces also.

Cheers,

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Postby 48Rob » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:46 am

Hi Chris,

It is a good starting point.
After consideration, qualified engineers decided that for the average person hauling the average load that trailer would be best suited by that weight ratio/balance between axle weight and tongue weight.

Since we as homebuilders place our weight in different locations than the engineers considered (over the axle and behind it) sometimes it works out okay, and sometimes it upsets the balance too much, and the axle needs to be moved rearward to allow safe stable towing.

Somewhere here on the board is a chart that explains it in much more detail, and offers info to allow you to do your own calculations so that it isn't a guessing game...

Rob
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trailers

Postby Chris D » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:56 am

Thanks Rob,
I will look for thr link

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spring capacity

Postby danlott » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:51 pm

I called the and talked with tech services at Stengel Bros at http://www.stengelbros.com/UtilitySprings.htm. They said that the capacity rating was for one individual spring and the total capacity for the trailer would be the total of the number of springs on the trailer.

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Postby 48Rob » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:04 pm

Hi Dan,

Sounds like you really do have 2500# rated spring sets.
As the manufacturer told you, if each spring set is rated at 2500#, then you do indeed have a total capacity of 5000#.

Wow!


My apologies.
For some reason I believed you had a "light duty" trailer.

So yes, you may need to derate them a bit...
Did they indicate how much each of the bottom two springs were rated?

They may not be 500# each, but may be higher on the bottom, and lower as you move up.
Sometimes you can reuse the old bolt that holds the leaves together if you remove just one leaf, but if removing two, a new shorter bolt will be needed, as well as "U" bolts, though the latter should always be replaced anyway, unless the set is near new.

Rob
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